By Denise K. Costa, Office Manager, Guidance/Care Center
Children and adults with undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can develop significant problems which can affect all aspects of their lives. Medication is effective for treating ADHD symptoms, but until now, it has been difficult to achieve adequate screening because traditional procedures are subjective, time-consuming, and expensive. In addition, ADHD is usually treated with psychostimulants and proper testing is critical to avoid prescribing to those who have substance use issues or those who may sell their medications.
The funding that we have received from the Ocean Reef Community Foundation has ensured that the individuals that we serve at the Guidance/Care Center, Inc. who are in need of medications truly have an ADHD diagnosis thanks to a laptop and software that the funds have provided for conducting assessments on-site.
The psychiatrists at the GCC are excited to have this new tool available to aid in a more thorough evaluation of ADHD in children and adults. They have been referring their clients for testing, even those with a current diagnosis of ADHD, to help them pinpoint the exact nature of the problems. The Connors Continuous Performance Test (CPT) not only scores their overall performance, but provides an evaluation of attention in four different aspects: inattentiveness, impulsivity, sustained attention, and vigilance. These results, combined with the Connors Continuous Auditory Test of Attention, (CATA) will assist our clinicians in targeting our clients’ specific attention needs and help to develop behavioral interventions to aid in their treatment.
Our initial target group was adults and we’ve had very positive feedback from those that have taken the test. One example is a young male who came to see the doctor after being arrested for assault. He was unemployed, homeless, and estranged from his family due to his impulsive behaviors. This patient reported having attention problems in school when he was younger but had no record of a diagnosis or history of taking ADHD medication. He was one of the first patients referred for the new ADHD test and his results strongly suggested problems with inattentiveness, impulsivity, and sustained attention. He followed up with the doctor and began medication.
Thank you to the Ocean Reef Community Foundation for ensuring that essential and appropriate mental health services are available to the Upper Keys residents that we serve!